Monday, January 22, 2007

Pass me that 45 lb plate!

Whats up kids? Everyone have a good day? Excellent . . . Let's Begin!

Seems Leave The Fan On has gotten some love recently from StraightToTheBar. Like a fool I thought the site was about going to a bar, but I was actually pleasently surprised to see it is all about fitness and strength training. So I will share a few stories of complete failure in the gym.

Back Story: I have an older brother who once looked more like a member of the Schwarzenegger family than of my family. Naturally being the younger brother, I would dabble in his interests to see what they were all about and to compete with him. Cause that is what brothers do!!! I never went into weight lifting as far as he did. I was seduced by endurance sports but that doesn't mean I don't know my way around a gym.

A few years ago, I had the great idea after my Ironman to get into strength training. In fact their might be some old blog posts about "The Drive to 185!" My goal was to some day weigh 185 lbs. ( I am 6 foot 1 inch. so it seems like something I should be able to do.) Needless to say it never happened. Looking back I know why I failed :

1) I didn't eat enough. I know that gaining muscle mass requires a massive amount of food, and I did not approach my diet with the same dedication that I approached the gym.

2) On a sunny 75 degree day, I really wanted to be outside running or cycling. Lifting weights indoors would get on my nerves on really nice days. (This is why my strength training takes place between the months of November and March)

3) My approach to the gym was to always to lift hard. I would put on Rollins Band and get to work. If I wasn't so tired that driving a car felt like a chore by the time I was done, I felt like a failure. I now realize that this is not the smartest way to approach a strength training.

I almost always lifted by myself, unless my brother was in town.

The beauty of weights is that they make a person incredibly honest. If you can't lift the weight you can't lift it. Since my brother was so much stronger than me, I would lift well into my red zone to compensate. On multiple occasions, I would be lifting legs and I would forget to breathe!!! I would stop my set of squats and hold onto the machine for dear life as the weight room would spin in circles until my brain got the oxygen it desparately desired. My brother would stare at me waiting for me to pass out, but it never happened. He would then politely remind me that breathing is a good thing. Unfortunately, I still hold my breath when I really lift my legs in the gym.

Of course, at the start of the drive to 185, I once pinned myself doing bench press. That is one of the most embarassing things that can happen in a gym. I had my headphones on. I hate asking for a spot. I put the weight on and I'm doing the last set. I figure I can do one more rep, I swore I had it in me. Gravity thought otherwise. Apparently gravity was right. I rested the weight on my chest for a few seconds thinking if I rest, I will gain the energy to get the weight back up. Needless to say, someone came over and removed the weight from my chest a few seconds later. How embarassing?!?!?

I could go into stories about how much gas eating protein shakes give me. (One of my poker buddies eats protein shakes before poker nights just to pass gas while playing. He thinks it throws us off our game.) I even experimented with Creatine for a few months with the drive to 185. Creatine has so much sugar in it. Everytime I had serving of Creatine, I felt like I just ate a Thanksgiving meal.

I should also confess to owning a copy of Pumping Iron, and yes it is awesome!!!

Currently, I lift to maintain my strength a little for cycling and swimming. I lift about twice a week. As the weather turns nice, my lifting will definitely die off until the next off season.

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